Nurse Gets All Clear On Breast Cancer

IU Health University Hospital nurse Lori Harman recently celebrated the end of chemo with the same co-workers who supported her throughout her diagnosis and treatment.

It was August of 2017 when Lori Harman got a diagnosis that she was all too familiar with. She works as an oncology nurse and the words she heard were: Breast Cancer.

Married to Gabe Harmon, an IU Health police officer, and the mother of Gabriel Harmon, she discovered the lump in her right breast through a self examine. Her doctor Carla Fisher ordered a biopsy that revealed two spots on Harman’s right breast and a spot in her left lymph node. She began chemotherapy on September 11. Harmon was often spotted at work with her IV pole pumping fluids into her system during treatment.

She went through six cycle of Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection followed by four more weeks of chemotherapy.

“The pathology came back with no cancer and all margins clear – a complete response.  I continued with Herceptin targeted therapy infusion every 3 weeks for 1 year,” said Harmon.

Her co-workers in the Multi-D clinic organized benefits and offered emotional support during her treatment so when she recently rang the bell – signaling and end to a year of therapy – naturally they were present to celebrate.

October is Breast Cancer Prevention Month – a time to raise awareness of the most common cancer among women. It is estimated that more than 2 million women will be diagnosed by the end of this year. Doctors recommend regular screenings including mammograms – as the most reliable source for early detection.

“I encourage all of my coworkers to take selfies, wearing their pink gowns when they get their mammies. It’s a way to encourage others,” said Harman.

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

IU Health Tipton Hospital Caring Hearts Coat Drive

IU Health Tipton Hospital is partnering with Steele’s Tipton Dry Cleaners and Laundry and ABC & Me at Emanuel Lutheran Child Care to present “Caring Hearts”, a coat drive for Tipton and surrounding areas. Residents are encouraged to donate a new or gently used coat of any size to the coat drive.  The coats will then be cleaned by Tipton Dry Cleaners & Laundry. On November 7th, coats will be distributed to individuals who would otherwise not have a coat for the winter. A simple process, but to be successful, we are asking local residents for their help!

To get involved, individuals should do the following: Look through closets for coats no longer needed, and in good shape/repair, or purchase a new coat to donate.

Bring the coat(s) to a collection site by October 31.

Collection bins will be located at:

  • IU Health Tipton Hospital Main Lobby (Entrance #1) and Medical Office Building North (Entrance #4)
  • Steele’s Tipton Dry Cleaners & Laundry
  • ABC & Me at Emanuel Lutheran Child Care

Coat distribution will take place at IU Health Tipton Hospital, Community Classroom, Wednesday, November 7 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.

For more information on the distribution of coats, please contact Crissy Proffitt at 765.675.8107.

Photo Caption: Children from ABC & Me help set the boxes out. Pictured L-R: Ellie Floyd, Josie Hiatt, Tiana Beeman and Jillian Anderson.

Philanthropy Ensures Safe Drug Disposal, Safer Communities

What can you do with prescription drugs that are no longer needed? Keeping them around can lead to abuse or accidental poisoning—or make you a target for theft. And though the Food and Drug Administration also allows certain medications to be flushed, doing so with others can contaminate the public water supply. 

Now, thanks to philanthropy programs, two more Indiana University Health hospitals will ensure medications are properly and safely dealt with. Drop boxes at IU Health Arnett and IU Health Frankfort hospitals are safe places where individuals can dispose of prescribed and over-the-counter pills and ointments.

Funding for the drug take-back program at IU Health Arnett was provided by the IU Health Foundation, through the Area of Greatest Need fund for that hospital, and funding for the IU Health Frankfort program was provided by the Clinton County Community Foundation. The grants awarded to both hospitals provide installation and monitoring of the boxes, which are located near the hospitals’ pharmacies and will be accessible to the public during pharmacy business hours. The hospitals will underwrite continuing costs.

Such programs can play a vital role in stemming the opioid crisis plaguing the state of Indiana. “Studies show that many people take their first opiate as a recreational thing. It’s not theirs; it’s something they’ve found in somebody’s medicine cabinet,” said Tricia Lohr, pharmacy manager at IU Health Frankfort. “If someone had a legitimate opiate prescription, after a surgery or something similar, it’s best to get rid of leftover drugs to prevent other people from somehow getting to them.”

Sarah Kennedy, outpatient pharmacy manager at IU Health Arnett, said philanthropy is key to funding extras like drug take-back programs in a hospital setting. “When you open up these programs to the community, it costs money,” she said. “This gives us a chance to reach members of the community we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to, and it makes people aware that these services are out there.” She added that some people might be more comfortable taking medications to a hospital than to a law enforcement agency.

There are a few restrictions to keep in mind when utilizing the boxes. Needles and liquids are not accepted in any form. And, while the boxes won’t be manned by an employee, they will be monitored by both nearby staff and security cameras. “Legally, we cannot touch what a person brings in,” said Kennedy. “And we don’t ask questions.” Kennedy noted that the boxes’ contents are sent to drug destruction services.

In addition to the new locations, the IU Health hospitals that have drug take-back boxes are IU Health Ball Memorial, IU Health Bloomington, IU Health Methodist, IU Health North, IU Health Saxony, IU Health University and IU Health West hospitals. To donate to programs like this one, or your chosen hospital’s Area of Greatest Need, visit

One Kidney Unites Two Employees of Same School

One is a school psychologist; the other is a classroom instructional assistant. These two women work in the same school district but never met until one needed a kidney and the other became her donor.

They met face to face for the first time in the cafeteria at Amy Beverland Elementary School. Beth Williams remembers watching Karen Murphy interact with the children in her care. Murphy is an instructional assistant for special needs students. Williams is a school psychologist. They both work for the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township but they never met until Williams learned that Murphy had a need.

She needed a kidney.

The tears that came down Murphy’s cheeks were a reminder to Williams of someone else who once needed a kidney – her dad. There was a time when Williams had offered to donate a kidney to her father, but it was too late. His illness was too far along. “When first diagnosed, he was advised to find potential donors, and I stepped up,” said Williams. “I remember he wrote a moving thank you and read it in our kitchen with all our family members present.  I only saw him cry twice in his life:  When his mother died and when he read this thank you to me. I was surprised because who wouldn’t do this for a family member?  But we never got far along enough that I was actually tested for compatibility.” 

Her father passed in January of 2016 and her mother passed in December of 2015. When her father was on dialysis, Williams accompanied him to treatment. In a journal of the experience she wrote: “After leaving the building with my husband, I began to cry and I’m not a crier.  I wasn’t crying for my father: He had total short- term memory impairment and didn’t even recall that he was on dialysis.  I was crying for all the people I saw lined around the room in dialysis chairs, young people, middle aged people, people who had to go to this place multiple times a week for multiple hours.  What kind of life is that? Without dialysis, they would die.  That’s a harsh reality.”


Williams didn’t know it at the time, but one individual was fighting hard to continue living without dialysis. At age 18, Karen Murphy was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). About 600,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with PKD – a genetic disease that leads to cysts on the kidneys. It is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure. Murphy is one of several in her family who suffered from PKD; some lost their battle with the disease. It wasn’t until she was in her 40s that her numbers began to change and she began seeing IU Health nephrologist Dr. Robert Bacallao.

“From day one he told me his goal was to keep me off of dialysis and if he didn’t, he would consider himself a failure,” said Murphy. She continued regular visits with Dr. Bacallo for 20 years. Then four years ago she had an appointment with Dr. Tim E.  Taber, who specializes in kidney disease. He broke the news to her: She needed to start looking for a kidney donor.

There are currently 121,678 people on the waiting list for kidney transplant in the United States. The National Kidney Foundation estimates more than 3,000 new patients are added to the list each month. That means every 14 minutes someone new is added to the list.

“I remember my first thought was ‘how am I supposed to do that; where do you even start and how do you ask someone for something like that,?’” said Murphy, who is married with two adult daughters. It was one of her daughters who started a Facebook page in May of 2017 “Help Find a Kidney for Karen Murphy.”

One of the first posts read: “If anyone sees this I’m asking for your help. Please share my post. I need to keep the word out there. You never know who is reading it and they may feel moved to call and find out more about being a living kidney donor. It may be something they have thought about before.”


In fact, Williams had thought about donating a kidney before. A teacher friend shared the post. Williams recognized the name but had never met Murphy.

“I saw her post and could not put it out of my mind.  It was like constantly being tapped on the shoulder,” said Williams, who has been married to her husband, Chris for 32 years. They are the parents of a son Jordan and a daughter Sarah.  

“I discussed it with my husband, and eventually my kids.  I knew that this was a serious commitment and if I made it, I didn’t want to back out,” said Williams. Once she made the decision, she asked to meet Murphy in person. “When I told her I would be tested, she started crying and hugged me.  I guess this reminded me of my own father’s response years ago.  I had this very strong feeling that at this point it was a ‘done deal’ and that I knew that I would be a match,” said Williams.

In fact she was a match.  On June 1, 2018, under the care of IU Health surgeon William Goggins, Murphy received Williams’ kidney. Dr. Chandru Sundarum was Williams’ surgeon. The post on “Help Karen Murphy Find a Kidney” read: “I received the gift of a new life and I am so grateful for my donor and her gift. I came home yesterday and I couldn’t feel better. I am looking forward to this new chapter of my life. . . .Thank you to everyone who has followed me in this journey.”

Three months after surgery, Williams was back in the OR with Dr. Sundarum. This time she was observing a laparoscopic nephrectomy performed by Dr. Sudaram. Observing a surgery was something she had always dreamed of and after her own surgery the opportunity became available.

“I thought it was absolutely fascinating . . . was impressed with the diversity of the surgical team and how well all are orchestrated,” she said after the experience.  Nearly four months post surgery, Williams vacationed in Spain and says recovery is much easier than she anticipated. 

“I have felt the ongoing appreciation from Karen, and I love hearing about her health improvement,” said Williams. “At this point, I have this donation in the rear view mirror and I’m happy it’s behind me. I physically feel exactly the same as before surgery. I’m glad it’s over but I’m happy I did it, and given what I now know, I would do it again.”

And for Murphy, the meeting with Williams is somewhat of a miracle.

“Mr. Lefty, as we call my new kidney is working like a champ. My experience through all of this has been wonderful. I can’t say enough about the employees of the hospital. From the parking staff, housekeeping, food service – everyone made me feel so welcome,” said Murphy. “Then we have the nurses, doctors and office staff. I left the hospital to begin a new life and I felt I was so ready, there wasn’t a question or concern that wasn’t addressed.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

IU Health Tipton Hospital Donates to local Boys and Girls Club

IU Health Tipton Hospital recently made a $20,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Tipton County. The donation will be used to support the organization’s ongoing activities and healthy lifestyle initiatives for area children who are members. The Club’s mission and programs align with IU Health’s mission of improving the health of the community.  

“We are pleased to support the Boys & Girls Club and the structured and safe environment they provide to the youth in the community”, stated Michael Harlowe, president & CEO of IU Health Tipton Hospital.

Continuing to build on the partnership between the hospital and the Boys and Girls Club we will be introducing health programs and activities in 2019. Team members from the hospital will be present at the club to offer programs and activities surrounding nutrition and healthy snacks, medication safety, exercise, health careers, drug abuse & mental health, etc.

Through September of 2018, the Club has served 400 registered members. Of those 400 members, 190 members participated in summer programming at the Club. A new focus for the organization in 2018 is Community outreach. The Club has served over 500 youth through special programs and services since January of 2018. The Club has seen a growth in the number of teens attending. There are over 60 registered members in grades 6 – 12. Over the course of the membership year all Club members are provided with programs and opportunities that focus on Academic Success, Good Character & Citizenship and Healthy Lifestyles.

“The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Tipton County is ‘To enable all young people, especially those that need us most, to reach their full potential as caring, productive, responsible citizens.’ The Boys & Girls Club of Tipton County is mission focused and works very hard to fulfill the mission in the life of every youth they serve, be it through a Club membership or through community outreach programs” stated Amanda Mendenhall, the Club’s Executive Director.

The Boys and Girls Club is currently registering new members for the 2018-2019 membership year. If you are interested in learning more about the programs and services provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Tipton County, please contact the Boys and Girls Club at 765.675.9362 or visit their website